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20 Jan, 2021 14:13

Russian customs data reveal rise in orders from China of Nazi-linked items – long taboo in country that crushed Third Reich

Russian customs data reveal rise in orders from China of Nazi-linked items – long taboo in country that crushed Third Reich

Russia might have its history of storming Berlin and winning World War Two, but that doesn’t mean there are no fascists at home. On Wednesday, officials revealed that citizens are regularly ordering Nazi paraphernalia from China.

Displaying symbols of the Third Reich is banned in Russia, except in specific research, artistic or educational instances.

The revelation came after officers in Novosibirsk’s postal customs office seized two parcels containing prohibited imagery, including a breastplate and crosses with Nazi symbolism. Novosibirsk is the largest metropolis in Siberia, and the region’s main transport hub. The packages, due to be sent to the far-eastern cities of Tynda and Khabarovsk, were uncovered using an x-ray machine.

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The intended recipients were told to prove that they need the items for matters other than “the propaganda of fascist ideology,” or the parcels would be sent back to China. Accepted reasons for owning such objects include scientific research and “the preparation of materials to condemn Nazism.”

According to the customs office, this isn’t the first time they’ve caught Russians ordering banned items with prohibited symbolism from China, having seized three similar packages in the second half of 2020.

Nazi symbolism is heavily regulated in Russia, with stringent laws on anything considered propaganda. In 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill making it a criminal offense to “deny facts recognized by the Nuremberg Trials.” If found guilty, the punishment could reach up to 500,000 rubles (nearly $7,000) or a five-year prison term.

Last year, three people were arrested for what they described as a joke that “didn’t work out,” after they uploaded pictures of Adolf Hitler and SS chief Heinrich Himmler onto the website of the Immortal Regiment, a movement celebrating the memory of those who defended the USSR from Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

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